After the success of Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds BGH1 camera released last year, the company has followed it up with a new full-frame version, the Panasonic BS1H. Like its MFT counterpart, the BS1H is designed more as both a studio camera, to keep set up in a permanent shooting location, or as a cinema camera, that can be caged, rigged and carted around at will.
It’s essentially a Panasonic S1H in the boxy form factor, boasting the same sensor and is based around the components of the S1H. In fact, the “BS1H” name probably stands for “Boxy S1H”. It features largely the same feature set, but with a few extras – like a wired LAN socket for streaming over ethernet.
As seems to often be the case when Panasonic announces something new, Richard Wong’s had his hands on one and already put together a pretty in-depth 38-minute long look at a pre-production version of the new Panasonic BS1H camera and what it can do.
As with its Micro Four Thirds sibling, the BGH1, the BS1H features no LCD or EVF. You’re reliant on using an external display of some kind through either HDMI, SDI, ethernet or WiFi. Controlling the camera is done by using the customisable buttons darted about the camera itself or from the smartphone app or your computer. Basically, you’ve got a lot of different options on how you can rig and control the camera that you don’t have with the regular Panasonic S1H.
You get unlimited record times, and a built-in fan helps to keep it cool in order to do so and you can record ProRes RAW or Blackmagic Raw (BRAW) over HDMI to either the Atomos Ninja V or Blackmagic Video Assist 12G devices. Internally, you also get 6K “open gate” 3:2 shooting at 24p in 10-bit, 5.9K 16:9 30p (10 or 12-bit), 4K UHD or 4K DCI from a Super 35mm crop at up to 60p as well as 4K UHD or 4K DCI up to 30p using the entire sensor and 3.5K Super 35mm anamorphic at up to 50fps. And, of course, in 1080p you get up to 180fps thanks to VFR (Variable Frame Rate) or even with audio using HFR (High Frame Rate) features.
One big feature missing from the BS1H that is present in the Panasonic S1H is stabilisation. The BS1H has none, at all. You can, of course, use the camera with stabilised lenses, if you wish, but you’re not going to get any kind of IBIS with non-stabilised lenses. But for a studio camera or even a cinema camera, a lack of IBIS isn’t really an issue as you’ll often be on a tripod. But even if you’re going handheld, you’d probably be better off with a gimbal anyway in this form factor.
The Panasonic BS1H is available to pre-order now for $3,497.99 (pretty much the same price as the Panasonic S1H) and is scheduled to start shipping in November.